Warriors return home to face Celtics
Programming note: Celtics-Warriors coverage tips off at 7 p.m. with Warriors Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (territorial restrictions apply)
After a superb seven-game road trip that spanned 13 days, the Warriors on Friday return to the warm embrace of Oracle Arena and also to a soft landing spot of an opponent in the struggling Celtics.
The Dubs have won 11 of their last 12, while Boston has lost six in a row and nine of its last 10. The Dubs are a playoff team aspiring to contend, the Celtics a rebuilding franchise committed to future growth.
In short, it's a 24-14 home team going somewhere facing a 13-23 road team going nowhere.
Which is a concern, if you ask Andrew Bogut.
"It's a bit of trap game for us," the center said after the Friday morning shootaround. "Coming off a successful road trip, guys are very tired and fatigued. We can easily come in with the wrong mindset and let this one slip, so we need to come in focused and I think we'll get the win."
There is yet another reason why the Warriors have to safeguard against a mental letdown. When the final buzzer sounds afterward, they don't have another game until next Wednesday. That's four days to rest and recover while also using practice time to stress fundamentals.
For now, the Warriors are hoping to ride the experience gained during the road trip on which they stretched their win streak to 10 while winning the first six of seven games away from Oracle.
"Our chemistry got better," said Bogut, the team's frankest player. "We're starting to play better offensively . . . for camaraderie, collectively, it's good to be on the road."
For a team that has played 23 of its first 38 games on the road, it is even better to be home, where the Warriors will play 11 of their next 15 games.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Bogut vs. Jared Sullinger. It's the biggest Warrior against the second-year power forward who, at about 270 pounds, is one of the heaviest men in the league. Both prefer playing on the block, but Bogut's 7-foot height gives him a four-inch advantage that should provide an edge.
Andre Iguodala vs. Jeff Green. Though Green is more of a "stretch four," small forward Iguodala is the more appropriate defender for Boston's most prolific scorer at 15.9 per game. Green is capable of explosive nights; his season-high is 31. It's possible David Lee also will match up with Green.
INJURY UPDATE: For the Warriors, centers Jermaine O'Neal (right wrist surgery) and Festus Ezeli (right knee surgery) are out indefinitely.
For the Celtics, point guard Rajon Rondo (knee) is out indefinitely.
SERIES HISTORY: The Warriors have lost four of their last five games against Boston but have won 13 of the last 17 in Oakland.